Freedom, PA


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Freedom is a borough in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United States, along the Ohio River 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Pittsburgh. In the early years of the twentieth century, the chief industries were the production of oil, caskets, and monuments. In 1900, 1,783 people lived in Freedom; in 1910, 3,060 people lived there. The population was 1,763 at the 2000 census.
In 1824, the Harmony Society returned to Pennsylvania, from Indiana. The society settled in what is now Ambridge, Pennsylvania, five miles (8 km) up the Ohio River. One of the reasons the society left Indiana was because of harassment for their abolitionist activities. Their settlement was in Beaver County along the Ohio River. There they founded "├ľkonomie," now better known as Old Economy Village. Here the Society gained worldwide recognition for its religious devotion and economic prosperity.
The Harmonites were abolitionists, and began placing signs along the Ohio River with one word, "FREEDOM". The Harmonites selected this location because the river curves at this point. The river is actually flowing North, so runaway slaves from the South would be traveling up the river. The FREEDOM sign on the river bank was to let runaway slaves know that they had reached freedom (and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). If the runaway slaves were still in Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio, then slave hunters from Kentucky or Virginia could legally cross the river and capture them. Once in Pennsylvania, the slaves were free.